Thursday, December 9, 2010

Exciting few hours

Came home last night to find Shelby had chewed through my laptop cord. Again. Guess I was pretty stupid to leave it out after she chewed through it the first time. I thought I had the cord tucked away so she couldn't get at it. I WAS WRONG.

We were packing lunches this morning and left some items sitting out on the stove while we were taking a hot tub on our all-weather porch (right next to the kitchen). When we came back in the house Megan came to the door right away but Shelby didn't and I thought she was being awfully quiet. Hmmm...I went into the living room and found her chewing on a plastic bag. It used to be on the stove filled with peanuts and raisins. I also found an empty packet of mini-cookies and a string cheese wrapper. While Shelby partook in the feast, she was most definitely not able to get things off the stove. Megan was her partner in crime!

Wait, that's not all! This morning we took the dogs for the walk. Megan is usually very calm but as we walked by our neighbor's house she was waiting in the driveway for us to pass with her very aggressive lab mix, Sophie. Sophie was her usual self - barking and lunging - so Megan decided this must be the way to behave. She pulled so energetically that she slipped her collar. Luckily, after that she was a good girl and sat when asked until we could put her collar back on. That's rather more excitement than we bargained for at 6:00 in the morning. Megan is probably getting a harness too although she doesn't need an Easy Walk like constant puller Shelby.

I was kind of annoyed at both the dogs this morning, but I guess they are still worth it!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Megan Jones and the Mystery of the Disappearing Greenies

Okay, for the second time I found a bag of emptied cat greenies in the "dog side" of the basement. The dog and cat sides are separated by a 41" high gate with a 7" door for the cat. The gate is securely fastened -- won't budge with repeated pushings by me. There is no way Megan can push her porky, furry 65 pound body through that cat door. Could she possibly be jumping the gate? I would be sincerely amazed if that were the case. Shelby could fit through the cat door but she is terrified of the stairs. So...after trying to find any way I could to blame began for the theft of the Greenies the only conclusion I could come to is that it was a cooperative effort. Dulcinea dragged the bag into that side of the basement and Megan finished them off. Also, the cat food itself was removed from its rightful place and dragged halfway across the room with the remaining food left intact. This hardly seems like the work of Megan who would have torn the bag to shreds after making sure there wasn't a crumb of food left in it. The next step is to secure the food and Greenies in some sort of container and see what happens. The adventures of having pets!

On another note, Shelby went to the vet this morning and her demodex and ear infection are gone. This is the first time she has ever been medicine free! She has an appointment for spaying on December 20th, which also happens to be her eight month birthday. I snapped a photo of her and Dulci sharing a chair which is on Picasa

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hurricane Shelby damage so far

* 2 upholstered chairs
* 1 upholstered ottoman
* 1 extension cord
* 1 laptop cord
* 2 nightgowns
* 1 backpack
* 1 playstation controller
* 1 playstation AV cord
* countless boxes, bags, newspapers and magazines
* The leather sofa is not a total loss, but she's starting on it
* Also, she's discovered the wood baseboards. YUM!

The vet asked Pam if she had any toys. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Can't walk through the living room without tripping over them.

I am hoping that she will grow out of this before too long. We aren't even going to try putting up the Christmas tree this year. We are trying to put anything she might consider edible (who knows?) in the office and close the door. She sleeps in our bed at night so she won't get into trouble. She hasn't learned to eliminate on walks at all. She also doesn't seem to know that peeing is for outside. She can pee on the floor right after she comes in from outside.

In spite of all this, I love her. She's so cute! She goes to the vet on Monday to be tested for demodex one last time and hopefully get scheduled for spaying.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shelby's Vet Vist

Pam took Shelby to the vet today and came back with good news. Demodex scrapings were negative! She goes back in 2 weeks for a recheck. If it is still negative we can go ahead with spaying. I'm kind of nervous since she will be about 8 mos then. Don't want to deal with heat. She weighs 16 lbs. Her ears are a little gunky but she is otherwise healthy. She is into chewing up furniture now and seems to have regressed in housetraining while we were on vacation. I've heard a lot of beagle baying from her recently -- all while playing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Megan to the rescue

I had a heart stopping moment today. We were out for a walk when Shelby's collar came undone. She was off like a shot and headed for a busy street. I tried calling her and she wouldn't come. Running after was a bad idea. She just ran away even faster. Finally, Pam let go of Megan's leash and said, "Get the puppy!". She did. She ran after Shelby, flipped her over onto her back and held her (gently) by the throat until we got there. What a good dog! I'll be sure to double check that collar each time we go for a walk.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Shelby is officially ours now. We signed all the adoption papers last night. We found out a little of her history. She was taken from a hoarding situation in Kentucky. Her father, a springer spaniel, was also taken in by the same rescue and is not ready for adoption. She has five brothers and sisters as well. I haven't seen any of them. She is going to my vet today to get her second set of shots and have her demodectic mange re-evaluated.  Oh and to add to the excitement we are taking care of SIL's three-legged Saint Bernard, Falstaff  (who, coincidentally, came from the same rescue as Shelby and Megan) and husky mix, Peaches for the weekend.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lessons from Megan

Lesson 1: Our home is this way
  --- When we get within two lots of our house, if the coast is clear, I let Megan off the leash to run the rest of the way home. I've started doing this with Shelby as well. Megan won't go as fast as usual and often looks over her shoulder to make sure Shelby is coming.

Lesson 2: This is how you play with a toy
  --- I have two Skinneez toys, a fox and a penguin, that I bought for Megan a while ago. She tore the tail off the fox when I first got it and then ignored it. She never showed any interest in the penguin. Until a couple of days ago. She has taken to throwing the toy for Shelby to catch. Shelby will drag it behind her and then the dogs will each chew on an end.

Lesson 3: Good dogs don't chew on paper
  ---- Shelby, being a puppy, loves to chew on lots of things. Yesterday she found a travel guide that we got for our upcoming trip to the Outer Banks. She dragged it on the floor and started chewing on it.  Megan got this exasperated look on her face and pounced on the guide, dragging it away from Shelby. When Shelby tried to get it back, Megan pushed it further under herself and growled softly. She showed no interested in chewing on it herself.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Megan and Shelby

Megan and Shelby are getting along much better. A couple of days ago, Megan
began inviting Shelby to play. It's really kind of comical to watch them
"wrestling". Megan weighs about 55 pounds and Shelby weighs 8. Wrestling
consists of Shelby attacking Megan's head while Megan retaliates with her nose
and front paws. There is much rolling around and striking the play stance by
both parties. Shelby is starting to be able to tell when Megan has had enough.
It is so cute to watch Shelby approach in a super-submissive position. When
Megan is done she gives a warning growl which sounds much different than her
play growls.

The other day, Pam took Megan out for a walk by herself. Pam said Megan just
kept looking behind her and after she had done her business she wanted to come
straight home. She looked for Shelby as soon as she got in the door.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Life with Shelby, Day 2

Things are already getting better. We confined Shelby to the guestroom last
night (yes, we did unsuccessfully try this Wednesday night as well) and she did
not cry AT ALL!! I am figuring out the proper amount to feed her (was feeding
her WAY too little) so I think that may have had something to do with her
crying. Megan is still snapping and growling but, really, Shelby needs to learn
the concept of personal space. She will practically put her tiny little nose IN
Megan's mouth. And she's kind of a little pest. I mean, if a toddler were in my
face all the time I might lose my temper as well! The cat - who is slightly
larger than Shelby - hisses and the pup backs off right away. Maybe she has some
experience with claws!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life with puppy Shelby

Maybe I'm just cranky from lack of sleep, but I'm not so sure this puppy thing
was a great idea!

1) She is not crate trained. If I put her in her crate she makes the most awful noises.
2) Research I did said demodectic mange wasn't contagious. Someone I respect says it is. I hope Megan doesn't get it.
3) Poor Megan is NOT happy. She alternates between acting depressed and put upon
and growling and lunging at Shelby. She hasn't made physical contact, though.
4) Three oral medicines and shampoo twice a week is a lot of work
5) I've cleaned up a lot of messes already


1) She's awfully cute
2) She loves everybody, including surly Megan and the cat
3) She walks really well on a leash
4) She's fearless
5) She's not at all a finicky eater
6) She seems to somewhat understand pottying outside most of the time

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And puppy makes five

Things I know about the pup so far:

1) We will be picking her up tonight between 5:30 - 6:30
2) She is not named yet, so we get to name her
3) As evidenced by the previous number, it is a girl
4) She has a skin infection which means
    a) She won't be ready for adoption for 2-3 weeks
    b) She, in the words of the shelter manager, looks like crap
    c) We get to treat her for the infection

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Yeah, Megan is smart

Y'all must get tired of hearing me brag. A couple weeks ago it took Pam an evening to teach Megan a new trick - catch. If say catch and throw a treat in the air she will snatch it. Her accuracy is amazing.

Today Pam asked me if Megan could shake with both paws as she always offers her right. So I decided to teach her the difference - shake right, shake left. And I'll be d***ed if she hasn't just about learned it. Such a smart girl!

Another thing Pam has taken to doing is just to say "Do a trick." You can just see Megan mulling it over decided which trick to do. And it's not always the same one.

In other news, the rescue from which we got Megan sent out a desperate plea to foster a pup. The pups are 12 week old springer/border collie/beagle mixes. I sent a message back saying we'd be willing to foster one. I'm still waiting to hear back.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Megan goes to the dog park

On Saturday we took Megan to a REAL dog park for the first time. She had been to the small city park near our house that allows off-leash dogs from 5-7:30AM. We only encountered another dog once. This time we went to a designated county dog park. It is bigger and used by lots of dog owners all the time. I am really proud of how well she did. We met lots of dogs of different sizes and temperaments. She had an "argument" with a young GSD bitch who was bothering her while she pooped, but otherwise she was fine. The real joy as when she discovered the lake. They have piers with ramps so dogs can either jump off the pier or walked down the ramp into the water. Of course, Megan had to find her own way - preferring to go down the bank next to the pier. She swam for the first time. She has waded in the past, but never swam. Then she raced around and rolled around in the mulch. Lovely. Luckily we had thought to bring along a blanket for the back seat. We need to take her out to places like that more often. She was so happy and she slept really well that night.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


We took Megan on a beach vacation on the Lake Michigan shore. She loved it. Her favorite sequence of events
  1. Wade into the lake while drinking
  2. Roll around in the sand
  3. Go far under the deck for a nap
  4. Go into the cabin and jump on our bed
We had so much sand in our sheets, it was unbelievable!

I have discovered a solution to Megan's early-morning whining. For now. I just say, "Come, Megan" and she jumps into bed with me. I have to cuddle her just like a person, rub her tummy, scratch her head and ears. She seems deliriously happy. After about 20 minutes she'll jump down and settle quietly into her spot beside the bed. Go figure. She's not spoiled or anything.

I was going to enroll Megan in a herding skills assessment but we missed the deadline, so we won't be doing that. We will be participating in "Dog Jog" on September 19th. It is a fundraiser the University of Wisconsin vet school holds to benefit homeless animals. You can find more information here

On Sunday Pam and I went to the Dane County Humane Society to look at a brick that we bought in honor of Sparky, our cocker spaniel that we lost last September. It was an emotional moment. I wanted to go in and look for another dog to keep Megan company, but Pam didn't seem interested. You can see a picture of the brick here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Megan at the park

Megan had her first trip to the park on Sunday. We didn't do an off-leash park this time, just a state park that allows leashed dogs on the trails. Obviously, we need to work on applying obedience training to real-life distraction-filled situations. Nothing awful happened and she wasn't exactly bad, but she wasn't exactly good either. A good sign of progress - and one that she has been displaying for about a week now - is her willingness to simply jump in the car without a leash. She knows the difference between "Let's go for a ride" and "Let's go for a walk" so I make sure to tell her what we're doing. When I tell her we're going for a ride, she shakes her head and starts to drool a little but she waits for me to open the car door and jumps right in. Anyway, when the car door was opened in the park parking area she bolted out the door. Granted, I didn't tell her to wait. I've gotten spoiled because she hasn't needed that command in so long. She seemed a little freaked out by being in such a different place. She wouldn't come when called, but she didn't run away either. She sat where she was when I told her to and allowed me to put the leash on her. So we're walking along the trail enjoying the scenery when suddenly she pounces. We look over to see she has a small rodent - vole or mouse - in her mouth. No amount of saying "leave it" - a command she was really good at in obedience class - would get her to drop that mouse. She ate the whole thing. Ewww. I know she's a dog and is made to hunt things but...GROSS! When I tugged on her leash, her collar came off. She wasn't interested in running away, so that's good. I need to see if I can get the collar a little tighter.  Anyway, that's our adventure! I'm glad we did it. I am having knee surgery tomorrow morning so I won't be able to go for walks for a few weeks.

You can see pictures of our outing here

Friday, July 16, 2010


Yesterday was the last night of Megan's introductory obedience course. It was a fun one. They had a pseudo-agility course set up. It was a combination of obedience stations and agility props. Megan was really good at it. The last station was a "mystery trick". The instruction pulled a card from the game "My Dog Can Do That". On the second run through Megan got "lay on your back with your legs in the air for five seconds". The instructor was amazed that Megan can do this. Such a good girl! At the end of class Megan got a diploma. The next session of classes starts August 2. I won't be able to do this one since I am having knee surgery July 28th. I think we're done with basic obedience though. The next class we do will be either agility or freestyle. Pam thinks flyball sounds fun as do I. However, Megan has no interest in chasing balls or anything else (except bunnies and chipmunks). She is also getting really good at riding in the car. We've been taking care of my sister-in-law's cats while she's out of town. The house is just a few blocks away. So we throw Megan in the backseat and take her over there. Then she gets to walk in a different neighborhood.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Megan the rockstar

Yep, that's what she got called in obedience class yesterday! We were working on stay when the instruction said the next step was to turn our backs and walk a few steps away from our dogs. She said our dogs would get up and follow us except maybe Megan because she's a rockstar. And guess what? She stayed still as a stone! She also passed the distraction test with flying colors. I am so proud of her. It may seem like a small thing but I think it's great.

She's not perfect, though. It's getting harder and harder to get her in the car. Now she is backing away when I try to get her in. Used to be that she'd jump in willingly enough if a led her with a leash. Now I have to throw treats in and even then it's something of a chore. Other than the drooling she is okay once she is in the car.

In other news, we are talking about getting a second dog. We really miss having a small spaniel-type dog (like Sparky) and we think Megan would appreciate the company as well.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

First time boarding

We went out of town for the weekend and left Megan at the same place she went to daycare, Ruffin' It ( It was probably more traumatic for me than it was for her. I missed her so much and worried about her. They have cameras in their play areas, but every time I managed to look at one, she wasn't on it. Also, when I left her the kennel seemed awful small, a thunderstorm was brewing and she pawed at the gate to get out. Anyway, we decided to just leave her in daycare yesterday (which was good since we really didn't get back on time to pick her up Sunday night) and then I could see her on the camera. Amazingly enough, she looked happy!

I especially enjoyed this scenario - keeper hands out treats, Megan gets hers, keeper attempts to reach over Megan to give treat to another dog, Megan first tries sitting nicely - then tries shaking - then tries sitting pretty, she doesn't get extra treats for her efforts but does get a nice pat. It's good to see that she'll do tricks for someone besides me. Maybe it's anything for a treat! Well, she's back now and we spent last night in the basement due to tornado warnings. She got a good report card. I do think it's good for her to be exposed to new situations, new people and other dogs. It's just hard on me to leave her!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Updates on Megan and myself

Megan went to her fourth obedience class last night. I think she's starting to look forward to it. She seemed pretty excited once we got out of the car. She is learning really fast and loves it. Last night the class did four forms of recall (toy, multiple treat, hide-and-seek and come and run) Megan was assigned come and run and did really well. She even got "points" for being cute and bouncy. We are working independently on shake, roll over and sit pretty. She just about has these down and we'll need to start working on something else. She is getting better about not barking at people. She still drools a lot in the car, but she doesn't start frothing the moment she gets in. Perhaps she will always be a big drooler on car rides and I guess that's not so bad. I did actually get her on the scale at the vet and she weighs 65 pounds! I'm really trying to cut back on treats and have bought her a better food to start soon. Trying to be more diligent about the exercise too although I'm afraid that falls mostly to Pam these days. Tonight we are dropping her off at a kennel and picking her up on Monday evening. We are going on a trip to northern Wisconsin with my brother in law and his son to go rock collecting. This is a father's day gift for the bil. I'm a little nervous about leaving Megan for so long. I haven't boarded her since we adopted her in January. This is the same place she went to daycare so it won't be totally unfamiliar to her. I am glad I don't have kids because it is hard enough for me to leave a dog behind!  There is a big storm coming and she is terrified of storms so I hope she won't be too scared at the kennel.

My update is that I have to have knee surgery at the end of July. It started bothering me in March and I've been under the care of a physical therapist in hopes of fixing it non-surgically. It's getting worse which is why Pam has to do most of the walking with Megan. I have high hopes that I will be able to return to my normal active self within a month after surgery. It's too bad that the injury had to be during the summer when I am usually most active.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Some new tricks

She knows shake and roll over pretty reliably now. We have almost
mastered sit pretty. She's just a little lazy and unsure of her balance
but she know what to do.

Now, for the not-so-good. Megan barks at people. When a serviceman game
to the door today I realized something interesting. She barks at people
she KNOWS more than strangers. She barks at my sister-in-law, my niece
and both of the brothers-in-law. She doesn't bark at strangers. Of
course, I'd like it if she'd stop barking at my family. She isn't
aggressive toward them in any way, she just barks. Silly dog.

Friday, June 4, 2010

More training

We are making a little bit of progress with the car rides. She doesn't froth the moment we get in the car, but she does drool excessively as the ride goes on. Yesterday we went to obedience class and this morning we went to the park.

Speaking of obedience class, I can't believe how quickly Megan learns. I think it's a combination of both of us understanding how to learn or teach something new. I can tell she really want to do what I tell her. She looks at me with those brown eyes thinking, "What is it you want exactly?" We went over the basics again in class but after two or three repetitions of doing something she already knows I switched to something else. She has learned roll over and is very close to learning shake consistently. I am so proud of her! The one hitch we had in class was with the introduction of the agility tunnel. I would like her to do agility someday so I was a little dismayed when she balked at it. She did go through though. I have also thought she would be really good at freestyle. Of course, I am jumping ahead. Let's get the basics down first!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Too fat?

Last Sunday I got a weight on Megan. I have my doubts about its accuracy. It involved me weighing myself (that's a topic for another support group!) and then picking up Megan and having Pam read what the scale said. If the weight was accurate she weighs 65 pounds, which means she has gained 10 pounds since January!!! I hope this is wrong. We do give her lots of dog treats (we have discovered that she doesn't really tolerate large quantities of human food so we've cut way back on that). We have cut back on the amount of food we give her and are breaking the large milk bones in half. When the time comes to buy more, we'll buy a weight loss formula and smaller biscuits. Also, she won't be fed her dinner on obedience school days because she gets a zillion treats in class. I have discovered she likes red peppers, grapes, strawberries, apples and bananas which gives us some healthy treat options. I'll keep testing to see what else she might like.

In other news, we did a VERY short trip in the car -- from the driveway to the garage -- and she didn't froth. I keep talking to her in an happy voice and pet her and praised her a couple times. The above paragraph might tell you why I'm reluctant to take her for rides to get treats. Tonight we go to our second obedience class so I'll see how she handles that

Monday, May 31, 2010

Car rides

Megan doesn't like car rides. She doesn't HATE them, but she doesn't like them either. She won't voluntarily jump  in the car. I don't have to lift her in but she won't go unless I put a leash on her and lead her to the door. The moment she gets in the car she starts frothing at the mouth. She doesn't whine or throw up. She lies on the backseat quietly. Maybe this isn't too big of a problem but the frothing bothers me

Friday, May 28, 2010

What a way to cool off!

We took Megan for a long walk and she got really hot. When I let her off the leash, instead of going to the back door as usual, she ended up in the middle of our garden pond!

First obedience class

I don't mean to brag (or maybe I do) but she was definitely the smartest dog there. They gave us clickers to use and it's obvious that this is going to be a really good training method for her. We worked on sit, down, not jumping up, name recognition, leash manners and handler focus. She gets all of this. After three or four repetitions of a behavior she got a little bored. Maybe it's the owner focus we need to work on then. All in all,, though, I think it's a good experience for both of us. If nothing else, the clicker training was a revelations. It is also great to her to be exposed to a variety of people and dogs. She was pretty worn out afterward.

On a side note.. At first the trainer greeted Megan by saying, "Oh! I have a BC at home." I didn't bother to correct her. She looked at the attendance list though then turned to me and exclaimed, "THAT is an English Shepherd? I didn't know they came in black and white."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Megan's (hopefully, one-time) bad thing

Last night I heard this weird sound at the foot of my bed. I got up to investigate and Megan was chewing on the bed leg! She has never done anything like that before. When I told her no she stopped immediately. This is certainly not a habit I want her to acquire! Also, one more funny story. We were watching TV in the living room on Saturday when I heard this ruckus coming from the pantry. I went in to see the treats I had bought for obedience class all over the floor and Megan with the lid in her mouth. They were stored in a sealed plastic tub in a closed pantry cupboard. She had opened both the cupboard and the container to get to them. They are now out of her reach. Obedience class starts Thursday so I'll find the proper use for those treats soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Megan's big day

I dropped Megan off around 7:00AM this morning for her first day of daycare. I was really anxious about it, but she just trotted away without looking back. I was able to see her on the webcam and she seems to be doing just fine.

Sometime today she will go for a bath and a nail trim. Hope that goes smoothly as well.

Megan is exhausted but cute with a dragonfly bandana. She is also shiny and fluffy and clean.  Here is her report card:

And her official first day photo:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Megan 2, Obliging Relative 0

Well, we went on an all day outing today and asked my sister-in-law to let Megan out around noon. Megan has been to her house several time and knows her quite well. When we got home, we found the following (paraphrased) note:

"12:00 Megan would not stop barking or growling. She refused a treat and would not come outside when I called her. I will try again later...2:00 Megan didn't bark this time but refused to move from her chair"

What a stinker! She really needs to learn to listen to someone other than Pam or myself. The SIL added that she didn't feel threatened by Megan's vocalizations.

She is going to her first day of daycare on Tuesday and will start obedience school in a couple of weeks. Hopefully one or both the these things will help.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Well, there have been no more housebreaking issues since my last update.

Here are what I think are the two main reasons:

1. An actual walk in the morning as opposed to a short romp in the backyard
2. No more human food

I am very pleased with Megan's progress. I have almost trained her to do Down. This is something that has been difficult for me with any dog in the past. She also knows rollover. One thing that I have trained her to do which I am rather ambivalent about is Up. She will stand on her hind legs and put her front paws on my chest. I think what I have done is channel this natural behavior into something she does on command. She doesn't really spontaneously jump on me anymore but rather waits for me to tell her to do it.

Basic obedience classes start in about a month. I think they will be fun!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The good and the bad

It's been a while since I've updated on Megan, hasn't it? Mostly it's good, but not all!

Teaching her to go down to the basement is a mixed bag. I keep telling myself that when the tornado warning start, I'll be glad she'll just go. Also, she seems to be pretty intolerant of heat and it's a good place for her to cool off. However, there is a downside. Or many. The first I noticed was a big pile of poop. Pam discovered it and it seemed to be a couple days old at the time. In her defense, It DID look like diarrhea so I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt. I suppose the basement isn't the worst place. Then it was the cat food. I feed the cat on top of an old desk in the basement. This was high enough to be a deterrent for Sparky the cocker spaniel. It seemed like Dulcinea had been cleaning her dish more quickly than usual. It seemed like Megan was awfully anxious to get down there soon after I had fed  the cat. I don't know why it took so long for met to put two and two together. Just a little while ago, I caught her peeing down there. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt here, too. It is the middle of the night, I didn't let her out right before I went to bed and I am still not sure how to interpret her middle-of-the-night signals. Most of the time she just wants attention but... Also, I caught her in the act and was able to stop her and put her outside. I'm hoping this is just an isolated incident.

On the good side, we made our first visit out to Pam's sister's house with Megan. Laura has two dogs - an elderly husky named Peaches and a rambunctious 1-1/2 year old, three-legged Saint Bernard named Falstaff. She and Peaches sniffed at each other and then pretty much ignored each other.Things were a little exciting with Falstaff at first, but they worked things out pretty quickly. This is a big step because Megan hadn't met other dogs in a social situation before. Laura has taken care of Sparky in the past when we went on vacation.  Now I feel confident leaving Megan there as well. A co-worker of Pam's has asked us to watch her yellow lab over Memorial Day weekend. It is helpful to know that Megan can get along with other dogs in confined spaces. Of course, I know things are different in her own house. We plan to have Titan over for a trial run first.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mission accomplished

We had severe thunderstorm warnings last night so everyone went down to the basement. Except Megan. Pam and I together just couldn't get her to go down. Finally, we gave up. Pam thought maybe she would come down eventually because everyone else was down there. She didn't.  I knew we had to start training her to go down to the basement before tornado season. I figured it would take a few days to a couple weeks of gradual project. It worked in less than an hour! She amazes me with how smart and trainable she is. I guess I am still accustomed to Sparky the cocker spaniel who wasn't the brightest bulb and was also very stubborn - if he didn't want to do something he wouldn't do it no matter how much you tried to train him differently. Megan is just so responsive. There are nine stairs down to the basement. The first four are just solid walls on either side. By the fifth step, the right side is open and you can see into the finished section where we sleep during severe weather. I used bits of sausage and cheese to slowly lure her down. By the time she got to the fifth stair she looked over to the right and I could tell she was very curious. After we got past that fifth stair it was smooth sailing. Of course, I made a big fuss once she got all the way down to the bottom. Then she trotted around eagerly investigating everything. Before I left for work this morning she'd been up and down by herself a few times. She starts obedience school May 18th. I can't wait to see how she responds to structured learning!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Last night when it started thundering, Megan disappeared. I found her in the bedroom closet. Megan likes her place in the closet. I have put a makeshift bed in there and it seems to be her safe place. I have taken to giving her melatonin at night because she is restless anyway. During the thunderstorms she just doesn't seem to know what to do. Her initial instinct was to go outside to escape the noise but of course, that didn't work. I had to let her try it though. She wants to be wherever we are so if we aren't in the bedroom, she is lying on her usual bed in the living room shivering. She doesn't want to eat - she even spit out milk bones. As long as it doesn't get worse, it seems like something we can deal with. Speaking of severe weather I do have a concern. Megan WILL NOT go in the basement. In the past I have tried calling her to come down because if I go down she stands at the top of the stairs whining. Although she wants to be with me, she doesn't want it bad enough to come down. Stairs aren't the problem because on vacation we had to go up and down stairs all the time and she did it with no balking at all. This morning I tried putting her on a leash because that has worked in other cases when she doesn't want to go somewhere. Not this time. She absolutely will not go. I'd like to be able to get her in the basement in case of a tornado warning.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Megan passes another test

We went to the dog park again today. At first there were no other dogs. So Megan ran around within park boundaries just like she did last time. We were just getting ready to leave when Rusty joined us. I had never seen Rusty before I would say he is a basenji mix. I was a little worried but they got on famously. They took turns chasing each other. There was a little dominance posturing (by Megan) but nothing serious. All in all, I think Megan had a blast. She seemed so happy! Then when we got home she went to get a drink from our (very small) pond. But she didn't stop at the edge. She kept walking until she was standing in the middle of it.Silly girl!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Megan goes to the dog park

About a week ago I injured my knee pretty badly so Pam has major responsibility for walking Megan. I feel bad about that. Yesterday I stayed home to rest my knee so I figured I would have the time to take Megan to the dog park. That way I could pretty much stand still while she ran around. This is a small, neighborhood park a couple of block from our house. We could walk there, but given my condition we drove. Megan is getting really good about being in the car although she still won't get in without being led to the door on a leash. I was pretty nervous about the situation since Megan has never been to the dog park before. I was ambivalent when I saw that there were no other dogs there. I was kind of hoping to be able to test out her reaction to other dogs but I was also glad to be able to test one aspect - being off leash with no clear boundaries - without the other. I needn't have worried. She was so good! At one point she was heading toward to sidewalk and the street but I just yelled "Megan, sit!" and she did so immediately until I could put the leash back on. I was amazed. I am not used to having a dog obey me so instantly and completely. Of course, she still drags loaves of bread off the kitchen counter (found bits of bread and plastic wrapper all over the living and dining room one morning!). I need to be trained too. I don't know how many times I've left things on the counter with the same result. I need to work on training her more. I know she will learn if I just take the time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Megan on vacation

We left home on Friday for a looong two-day drive to the Alabama coast. She has done and is doing much better than I though she would. She never bolted out of the car. She lay in her bed quietly most of the time and didn't make a nuisance of herself. Saturday was a twelve-hour day in the car and we were all really tired of it but she did no worse than either of the people. She LOVES the beach. Not the water -- that's terrifying -- that's the beach. We were the only beings out at dawn this morning so I let her off the leash with some trepidation. She ran, ran, ran but she always stopped part way and looked back at me and she always came when I called her. Such a good girl. This morning we left her alone at the cabin while we went grocery shopping and when we got back she was sound asleep on one of the beds. No problems. I think this is good for all of us.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Megan is full of it

Here's how my night went. I go to bed and Megan comes in a nanosecond later whining. Par for the course. I ignore her. A little while latter I hear her (or the maybe the cat, I thought), batting something hard around the living room. With I sigh I get up and investigate. Megan is sitting with a prescription bottle between her paws gnawing on it. Luckily, it only had a sealed bottle of eyedrops inside and her teeth hadn't reached that yet. I wonder, "How did she get that? My prescriptions are on a shelf above the sink." Then I remembered we are packing for a trip and our suitcases are on the office floor. Sure enough, she had dug the prescription bottles out of the front pocket of the overnight bag. Making sure everything was securely fastened away, I went back to bed. A little while later I hear the unmistakable sound of Megan playing with the Buster Cube. That's fine. Good, in fact, since I've been trying to teach her that for weeks now. Then I hear a loud CRASH. I get up to investigate. The crash was simply the Wii balance board falling over from where it was leaning against the wall. No big deal. But...there is some sort of plastic netting torn up and spread out all over the living room floor. What could that be? Well, Megan had gone into the closet near the bathroom (which has shutter-like doors) and retrieved a shower scrubbie off the first shelf. Then she took it out to the living room and tore it all to shreds. And I had just been bragging about how she doesn't chew up inappropriate things! This morning she didn't want to come in when I went to work. When I walked out to get her with the leash she ran in enthusiastically. I think when she saw the leash she thought we were going for a walk. Once she figured out (very quickly) that we WEREN'T going for a walk, she noticed that the porch door wasn't quite closed and ran back into the yard. There she played her "sack of potatoes" game. She did come in once I clipped the leash on her. I'm afraid that one of these days she won't. She's usually such a good dog. Maybe it's spring fever!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Making progress

We took Megan with us to a Super Bowl party on Sunday. She did not bark
or growl once. At first it was hard to keep her out of the kitchen but
once I gave her a blanket and told her that was her place to be she
pretty much stayed there. If she started to wander toward the kitchen,
all I had to do was tell her to come back and she did.

This morning we brought her outside to shovel snow with us. Since the
bolting incident on the second day she was with us we have been very
careful not to have her outside a fence without holding onto her or, in
some instances, hooking her to a post. Today we just put a leash on her
and let her drag it. There was no attempt to run away at all.

She and Pam are now good friends. She has jumped up in Pam's lap and given her kisses several times now.

You can see an example of this here

We continue to have some adventures. Sometimes it is our fault. We're
still not used to a dog that can counter surf. She ate a leftover
enchilada (opened the plastic container it was in and everything) and a
bag of chipped beef.

I am treating her for ear mites and a bacterial ear infection. She is
so good about it. She comes to me right away and lays her head on my

Eventually, we will take her to obedience class. We'd love to be able to
take her to the dog park but with her tendency to run away (maybe we're
overcoming that) and her wariness of other dogs, we don't think it's
possible yet.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Megan's new trick

Going on a month with Megan now. It's hard to believe! It has been a struggle leaving in the morning. Usually just telling her to stay works but if we forget, doG help me! We have a mudroom that connects our house to the garage. Today she ran out the backdoor and plopped down in front of the door into the garage. When we told her she had to go in the house, she rolled over onto her back and presented us with her belly. For a while,we didn't think we'd be able to get her to move. She weighs 55 pounds, so we could pick her up if we absolutely had to but we'd rather not. Eventually she did go back in the house and jump into "the chair formerly known as my chair". I wish I could make this easier on everybody!

Other new tricks:

1) Opening the dog food bin. We had to close it with a twisty tie. Suppose it's a matter of time before she figures out how to work that, right?
2) coat-eating. Well, not really, but she goes absolutely wild over the fur trim on the hood of Pam's coat. I found this out late one night when I heard a terrible racket. When I went to investigate I found the chair on which Pam had put her coat was knocked over and there were little tufts of fur strewn about. The damage wasn't noticeable but I guess we know better now.

Having a smart dog is both a blessing and a curse.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Funny Megan!

Megan unwrapped a bra yesterday. We had a mail-order bra sitting on the coffee table. We hadn't taken the time to get it out of the plastic and off the hanger. When we got home yesterday the bra was neatly laid out in front of the television and the hanger and plastic bag were nearby. She didn't harm the bra or hanger at all. She just...unwrapped things. I guess it was something for her to do!

Pam took Megan for a walk home from the grocery store yesterday. Apparently, she wasn't real fond of the busy urban environment. We think it's good for her to be exposed to it though. Sparky was really good at sticking close by so we could take off his leash when we were within a couple of houses of home and he would just go straight to the back door. Well, Pam was still in the habit so she took Megan's leash off in the driveway. She said the moment she took it off she realized it maybe wasn't such a good idea. However, when she said, "Megan, come in the house!" she went right to the door. So I guess this demonstrates two things: 1)She listens to Pam at least a little and 2) She doesn't bolt the moment she is off-leash without a fence. We don't want to test it too much just yet, however.

This morning I was holding the cat in my lap while sitting on my chair in the living room. Megan's bed is right next to my chair. The cat didn't run away immediately. Megan gave the cat a little lick. Dulci didn't really enjoy this -- she hissed! Maybe they are closer to being friends, though.

Still can't get her to play with toys. She has learned to stay pretty well in the kitchen at least. We'll work on "sit,stay" with distractions next. We are trying to teach her to shake. She does have the natural tendency to raise her paw.We'd like to work with this, but we're never prepared with treats when she does it and she hasn't done it during a training session yet. I get the distinct impression (see opening paragraph) that she is getting bored so we're trying to do things to stimulate her.

She goes for her first vet visit tomorrow. Once that is over and she is certified as being vaccinated along with getting her license (still waiting for that to come in the mail!) perhaps we'll look into having her go to doggy day care a couple times a week.

Sparky was a sweet dog but he was never this smart and he was pretty content to be a couch potato. Megan comes with her own set of challenges. Not that we don't enjoy them!

Monday, January 11, 2010

One week with Megan

Of course, we're still getting to know each other. That should be the first statement I make.

Megan will now sit pretty much on command as long as she is in the house with the promise of a treat. We haven't tested her outside those boundaries yet. She is almost to that point now with stay as well. She is good at walking on a leash although she still goes into a frenzy as we're putting it on her and immediately afterward. We know this is a situation where using the sit command could come in handy, but we haven't tried it yet.

She will now solicit petting from Pam. As Pam so astutely observed, the breakthrough seemed to come when we had visitors. I think Megan quickly calculated the difference between people just coming into the house and Pam and realized that Pam is part of her pack. She still won't really listen to Pam now and sometimes when she goes to Pam her demeanor is extremely submissive. There is progress, though, and we're encouraged by that.

She and the cat can now be in the same room very briefly with no ruckus. In fact, on one instance they actually touched noses before the cat ran away.

I have discovered that if I stand in the backyard with her, Megan will put on a show of rushing and bounding through snow. If I just let her out she generally will run and do her business (sometimes) and quickly return to the door. So I now stand out in the yard with her every morning and evening at least, regardless of the cold and/or dark. On a related note, she NEVER eliminates on her walks. I'm not even sure she enjoys them much, but I'm hoping she will come to like them.

We went for a ride to the grocery store and for a visit to Pam's sister. It was the first time she had left the house - other than walks - since she came home. She didn't much like the visit, but we think it is good for her socialization.

If we get excited over a televised sporting event, she gets upset. This is the first time we have ever heard her bark or growl. She barked at Pam, she growled at Pam's brother and nephew. She never made any move to bite, just made noised. Eventually, she ended up in my lap while I sat in my favorite chair. I guess I was protecting her.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Home alone

We are leaving Megan home alone all day for the first time. I am a little nervous as to what we might find when we get home, but we've got to start sometime!

She has been a pretty good dog. We haven't given her the chance to get near the front door so there has been no more bolting. Her ID tag came in the mail yesterday so I feel a little better now that she's wearing that. She pretty much knows the sit command now and we are working on stay. I'm not sure she knows her name.

The big problem now is that it seems she will only listen to me. This is not good. She won't come to Pam. I'd really like her to respond to both of us. I suppose she has only been around a few days and I should give her more time.

She and the cat are at least acknowledging each other now. They are not on friendly terms now but the cat isn't hiding anymore, just hissing and growling if Megan comes near. I suppose that's progress.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Adventures with Megan

We got Megan on Sunday. So far she has learned to lie in her bed and walk on a leash. And I swear we have practically taught her to sit in one session. She's not consistent yet, but we can tell she's starting to get the idea.

Not everything is sunshine and roses though. This morning she got out the front door when I was putting out the mail. The front yard is not fenced and she was off like shot. Let me tell you, that dog is FAST!! So Pam and I threw on our clothes and went out looking for her in the subzero morning. I saw her at the far end of our street,across the major dividing road. I walked toward her and called her but she wouldn't come to me. Instead, she shot off in the other direction and was soon out of sight. We had pretty much given up hope of getting her back. She doesn't have an ID tag yet (we've ordered one) and there was no way we could catch her and how would she even know where to come back even if she wanted to? We were convinced that she didn't really want to live here and had run away. I was sitting down to send an email to the shelter when I looked out the window and there she was waiting outside the front door! I just about fell off my chair. How did she know the right house already?! Oh my, this girl is smart. And I guess she really does want to be here because she came back. However, we really need to work on training her not to bolt and to come when she is called. We were pretty upset with her, but I guess she just doesn't understand living in the city yet.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Photos of Megan

These are available on Flickr

Megan is home

We brought Megan home yesterday afternoon. So far she is very quiet and subdued. She has no idea what she is supposed to do or where she is supposed to be. She is easily spooked. Poor baby. On the upside, she has already learned it is a good thing to lay in her bed - she's smart as a whip - and she has a good appetite and likes treats and petting from us. She also enjoyed her rawhide. She has shown no signs of destructive behavior nor has she had any accidents. We are leaving her alone in the house for the first time this morning. I'm hoping I can leave work around noon today. I'll do some pictures later, but the camera seems to be one more thing that freaks her out right now.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Good news

We went to see Megan today. She immediately put her front paws on my arms, looked into my face and gave me gentle kisses. That sealed the deal. We are going to pick her up tomorrow.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Megan update

Our application was approved and we are going to meet Megan in her foster home tomorrow afternoon! I hope we will be bringing this sweet girl into our home soon.